Silencing DJs, singers Sound System Ordinance

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LAHORE: Digital jockeys (DJs), singers and show organizers are threatening to launch province-wide protest if police continued registering cases against them while seizing their music gadgets under the Punjab Sound System Regulation Ordinance 2015.

The Punjab Government enforced the Punjab Sound System Regulation Ordinance 2015 on January 06, 2015 in the province under the National Action Plan framed after killing of 150 people in Army Public School Peshawar on December 16, 2014. This Ordinance is made to quell hate speech acts and related terrorist tendencies in the country.

The Punjab Government, in a bid to stop hate speeches, enacted the Sound System Regulation Ordinance 2015 that banned sound systems including loudspeaker, amplifier, sound deck, tape recorder and other noise-making instruments. The government allowed loudspeaker and sound system only for Azan and making announcement of missing persons or dead ones whereas for the violators a six-month imprisonment besides fine up to PKR 100,000 is fixed.

The Punjab Sound (DJ) Association President Shafiq Butt notified News Lens Pakistan that the police had registered around 5,000 cases against owners of sound systems throughout the province.

Butt said, “The police stop DJs at different check-posts and demand high bribe on spotting the sound system. The police even do not spare DJs in marriage halls and confiscate their sound systems before arresting them. This situation has troubled DJs and is equal to their economic murder since many of them are getting jobless because of the Ordinance.” He further said, “The police are destroying our culture since music at marriages and parties is a part of our culture.”

Butt claimed that no hate speech is made by DJs on the sound system. He told News Lens Pakistan that DJs would soon move to court and launch province-wide protest if police did not stop arresting DJs.

Singer Irfan Sehwani also expressed reservations over police action against DJs and said it was equally affecting the singers.  “Singers will die financially if there are no sound systems in their functions. No singer is able to earn his livelihood without sound system and DJs,” he said while talking to News Lens Pakistan.

Singer Nooran Lal while talking to News Lens Pakistan said, “The promotion of singers is impossible without sound system as technology has a lot to do with this form of art.”

Show organizer Imran Ali expressed deep reservation over the arrest of DJs in the Punjab. “We are facing huge difficulties in organizing cultural shows since DJs and singers are reluctant to come there. Our culture of music and parties will die if police continue their action. Interestingly, the police do not take action against the rich when their parties are arranged.” Show organizer Agha Ali Raza while talking to News Lens Pakistan made “similar” comments.

DIG Operations Lahore, Dr. Haider Ashraf defended police action against DJs. “Police arrest them when they violate the law. There is limit to everything. The music should be within four-walls and should not disturb neighbors. Noise-making is an offense and DJs should know this,” Ashraf told News Lens Pakistan during a telephonic interview.

 

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